Made of Gray

Permobil Head Array Prototype - Update

Holly D Gray5 Comments
Since the beginning of February Caleigh has been using the new Permobil head array. In that amount of time we have done quite a bit of tweaking and customizing for Caleigh.
About one week into using the new system, Caleigh began to throw her head back against the forward switches extremely hard. It was puzzling and honestly we did a lot of guessing as to why she was doing it. Then we wised up and actually asked her. Turns out she didn't know why it was happening. She said it was muscles. She didn't want it to happen. It didn't feel good. She didn't think that she had to hit it hard to make it move. So we blame dystonia, and an excited girl that gets to drive her chair all by herself.
With this issue in mind, we met once again with a person from Permobil to brain storm a solution. One week later we met again and added a foam rim to the main headrest. This has helped a lot, and now Caleigh seems more gentle when picking her head up. The final version will have some padding to the molded switch areas.

The molding of the switches was worked on, as well as tightening everything up.
An issue that we have had with the head array is probably pretty unique to Caleigh herself. There are some loose threaded areas that we constantly tighten to no avail. When loose this make her left side "resting spot" slide down, which in turn hooks her glasses, which then allows her to get her head stuck underneath the head array itself. Just call her headrest Houdini. Whatever the situation she will find a way to wrap her head around it. I've been told that those threaded or not so threaded areas are being addressed.
Another interesting occurrence happened on Sunday. I wet Caleigh's hair down and styled it like I normally do, and then put her in her chair. We were going to do some yard work, so I figured she could drive around a bit while we did that. The day was pretty humid as well, but the moisture off of her hair was causing the proximity switches to become activated. Basically the chair was driving forward on it's own. The super amazing engage/disengage button located right behind those switches started acting up as well. It was disengaging Caleigh's driving anytime she put her head up to go forward. Frustration set in quickly and we ended up taking her out. So, the moral to this story is that electronics do not like moisture, no matter how much. Lesson learned.
The amount of time that Caleigh can hold her head up and drive continuously has really expanded. Especially if we are out in an open area, she will hang on and keep going. 

Overall, this new head array has been a huge improvement for Caleigh. With the anticipated changes, I'm certain that this is the driving system for her. 
Enjoy this short video. These recorded days are before we added the foam for padding.
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